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Marie Catribs serves sustainability

Marie Catrib's is environmentally conscious about the food they serve by choosing to buy local. Their building is gold LEED certified, designed and built by Bazzani Associates, a company that has created many sustainable buildings.

Environmental Series

This is the first article of a series about sustainable businesses that are environmentally conscious. For this series, we're defining sustainability as meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. 

Keep your eye out for future highlights of local businesses working to create sustainability within our community, in the way they do business.

Marie Catrib’s is known for their Mediterranean influenced meals all made from scratch, but there is another element at the heart of their food.

“When you make food for people you have to do it with love and a good conscience,” says Fouad Catrib, son of the late Marie Catrib and co-owner of the restaurant. “When you try to obtain as much local goods as possible, it makes you feel really good about what you’re giving to the customer.”

Advocates for local food say it’s good for farmers because there is a direct exchange versus having to pay a company and a middle man, it expands access to fresh and healthy food and it benefits the economic development within communities. They believe because local food is minimally processed, seasonally grown and requires less transportation it has less of an environmental impact.

Even in the winter, Marie Catrib’s sources their food from Creswick Farm and Rakowski Family Farms. Winter produce is also sourced from Traverse City and during the growing season they work with even more farms.

The restaurant is also certified gold by the green building rating system Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), which was created by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED certified buildings save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy.

Some sustainable features of the building include a vegetative roof garden, energy efficient construction and on site stormwater management.

Bazzani Associates, a company that designs and builds sustainable buildings, created the building that is now Marie Catribs. The company has won awards like the Grand Rapids Neighborhood Business Award and the Clean Corporate Citizen Award from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Bazzani Associates were the first to complete a LEED double-Gold certified project in the world.

Guy Bazzani, the founder and President of Bazzani Associates, says it’s important that businesses keep sustainability in mind for the long term health of the community.

In the future, to add to the sustainability of their business, Marie Catrib's is exploring how to install solar panels on the roof to offset the amount of energy they use. It’s a challenge for them because they would need many panels in order to capture enough energy to run the restaurant.

“We’ve been talking about doing this for a long time but it costs quite a bit of money. It has been something that’s always on my mind and I know the return would be great,” says Catrib.

Catrib says the restaurant would like to try to decrease the amount of packaging they put out, which is a struggle because they sell a lot of to go food.

To lessen this environmental impact, their disposables, such as utensils and plates, are corn-based and compostable, which allows them to decompose more quickly. The production of conventional disposables like plastic use more energy and release harmful pollution.

Marie Catrib’s is also environmentally conscious in their waste management. 

“Almost every piece of waste we have is composted and we went from having a big garbage dumpster to having three garbage bins each week,” says Catrib. "The change has been dramatic."

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